Categorized | Politics

Farewell, Alan Bock



Matt Barganier


Though my interaction with Alan Bock was fairly limited and strictly virtual—emailing occasional editorial queries or kudos after particularly strong pieces—I was a longtime admirer of his. I knew Mr. Bock’s work before I had ever heard of, as I had a (Koch-subsidized!!!) subscription to Liberty back in the late ’90s. My views on foreign policy, drug laws, and other matters were undoubtedly shaped by his understated yet forceful commentaries for that magazine and, later, this Web site. And though it must be difficult for even optimists to keep their cool, much less their high spirits, while chronicling injustice and idiocy every day, he seemed to pull it off. Treat yourself to a stroll through his archives, then try finding another author who was so consistently and prolifically correct about the American empire.

One surprising thing I’ve learned from various tributes is that our late columnist wrote a book on Hank Williams, a fact that warms the heart of this Alabamian. Here’s to you, Mr. Bock:



Justin Raimondo

Alan Bock, editorial writer and opion page editor at the Orange County Register’seditorial page,  and a longtime columnist for — died today, shortly after entering a hospice. He was 67.

Alan was the author of four books: Ecology Action Guide (1970), The Gospel Life of Hank Williams (1976), Ambush at Ruby Ridge (1995) and Waiting to Inhale: The Politics of Medical Marijuana (2000).

Alan  was a very personable guy: easygoing, he exuded an aura of benevolence and good will. He was such a nice guy that, back when we were just starting out, he agreed to write a column for us for no payment: he was the longest-running columnist second only to myself, with his first piece posted in 1999.

He worked at the Register for nearly 30 years, and his was a respected voice in the editorial department: a hardcore libertarian, he was nevertheless very far from a humorless ideologue concerned only with politics. As he wrote in his farewell columnfor the Register:

“There are plenty of things more important than politics: your family and friends and treating them right, the search for spiritual meaning in an often confusing and ambiguous world, art, music, science, simple enjoyment of the good things in life, struggling to make good choices rather than destructive ones, and supporting your children in their intellectual endeavors and at soccer and softball games. All these challenges, however, can be handled better – not necessarily easily, but better – in an atmosphere of personal liberty and freedom to make one’s own choices than in a repressive regime that makes choices for you and forces them on you.”

Alan’s columns combine a reportorial respect for the facts with a thoroughgoing application of the libertarian principle of nonintervention in the affairs of other nations. His constancy (he was never late with his column), and his devotion to the idea that peace is not only desirable but possible, made him one of our most valued contributors.

He will be greatly missed.


James Bovard

Following up on Justin’s post on Alan Bock going into a hospice –

Alan Bock has done great work for freedom. His jovial good nature is rare in this biz. He can be a hardliner without being abrasive or bitter. In the waning days of the last century (12/27/2000), shortly after the Bush legal team had hustled a victory out of the Supreme Court, he sent me an email: “Dubya will make us free, right? — Alan.” This was typical of how he relied on irony instead of wrath.

The last time I saw Alan, he was visiting DC for a freedom-oriented conference in 2007 or 2008. He and I caught up for dinner at a hamburger joint in Arlington. The beer was better than the burgers, so I put away a few. At one point, Alan casually tossed out the smartest quote I ever heard from a monarch – King Edward’s quip that “a man should never miss a chance to hit the loo.”

Alan did the best book on Ruby Ridge – his 1995 classic, Ambush at Ruby Ridge book – subtitled How Govt Agents Set Randy Weaver Up and Took his Family Down. His 1993 articles were far better than anything else I saw on the subject that year. Alan provided the philosophical and legal framework – as well as the damning facts. Alan never hemmed or hawed or made excuse for killer feds. His work and his courage helped Americans recognize the outrage that had occurred in the mountains of northern Idaho.

I hope things can go as well as possible for he and his wife and family in the time remaining.


Alan Bock Enters Hospice


Justin Raimondo

Our good friend Alan Bock, a senior editorial writer and former editorial page editor for the Orange County Register. and a regular columnist for, hasentered a hospice: he has been ill with cancer for some time.

Our prayers go out to him and his wife Jenn.

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